Monday, December 08, 2008

Existentialism Is Alive and Well and Living in K-Mart

Now and then I run into moments that really do seem like fodder for that novel I still hope to write someday. I never know when or where they're likely to crop up, so I try to stay alert to all possibilities.

Last Saturday, I found myself (much to my surprise) shopping for Christmas tree ornaments at K-Mart. And, as you might expect, there were several dozen tots running around, savaging the artificial trees and crunching the fragile glass decorations underfoot. Well, four-year-olds can be adorable but deadly, as we all know.

So there really wasn't anything unusual about seeing this little kid clinging to his mother's jeans and yelling at full throttle. It was just the sentiment he was expressing that made the whole thing seem just slightly bizarre. The little dear was screaming "I want something! I want something! I want something!" over and over and over and over and over…

Nothing else. Just, "I want something! I want something! I want something!"

His mother kept showing him things, trying to distract him with the shiny tinsel and colorful baubles. But he was having none of it – just went on shouting "I want something! I want something! I want something! I want something!"

He was still screaming when I left the store. And he never said what it was he wanted.

Just a spoiled pre-schooler with an over-indulgent (and possibly deaf) parent? Or a runny-nosed metaphor for ourselves at this point in time? (Wow! And somewhere Rod Serling spins in his grave.)


  1. When we went to see Kung Fu Panda, the little boy across the aisle from me screamed, "I want a toy," all through the movie, and his parent just ignored him.

  2. I just saw the movie Vicki Cristina Barcelona and the father of the male lead is a poet who doesn't publish his poems because the world doesn't deserve them. That's how it is with my book, and your book too, I'm sure :)

  3. You are a very brave person to go to KMart on Saturday this close to Christmas. Here's my take on it -- kid wants LUNCH! Mom is shopping, paying no attention to the time, the kid is going to disintegrate if he doesn't get sustenance and so he yells. Painfully reminiscent of those LONG Saturdays at Joske's with the mad dash to Casa Rio. I don't remember us yelling -- we just dissolved into pools of headachy nausea! Hmm...we should have yelled.

  4. I think kids today are used to having everything and getting their own way. When they go into a store they just have to have something. I don't think they really even know what it is they want.

  5. I was out with my 3 year old granddaughter and her parents on Sunday, she cried "I want food" (she'd already eaten!) and when she was offered crisps that made her cross and she shouted it again - I was pleased she didn't accept crisps as food!


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